News

Christmas in Colonial America wasn’t always festive

Christmas in Colonial America wasn’t always festive

CHRISTMAS IN COLONIAL TIMES: The festivities weren't always so bright in early America. Photo: clipart.com

Christmas in America has become a mixture of both secular and religious themes, a time of joy, gratitude and celebration.

But in Colonial times, it was a different story.

Surprisingly little is known about how early Americans celebrated Christmas.

That’s because historians of the day spent their time chronicling politics and wars, not holidays.

But it is known that the early settlers of Virginia, Maryland and Georgia brought English customs with them, while in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania the traditions of Holland, Sweden and Germany were carried on.

In New England, Christmas was long frowned upon. The Puritans associated it with the Church of England and the old-world customs they were escaping, including feasting, drinking and playing games.

Christmas and other holiday celebrations were banned in Massachusetts from 1659 until 1681. A law was passed declaring that anyone who observed a holiday would be fined five shillings.

The first state to declare Christmas a legal holiday was Alabama, in 1836.

Recent Headlines

in Local

Massachusetts House votes to eliminate speaker term limits

Fresh
ma statehouse

Massachusetts lawmakers have voted to eliminate term limits for state House speakers

in Local

UMass Athletic Director Leaving

Fresh
umasshockey

The UMass Athletic Director will soon leave Massachusetts and head to a new job in California.

in Local

UMass Braces For Superbowl Riots

Fresh
umass

UMass has banned all guests from dorm rooms starting at noon Sunday and will be closely monitoring social media sites.

in Local

Baystate Franklin Surgical Wing Construction Starts

Fresh
health care

Ground has officially broken on Baystate Franklin Medical Center's new surgical wing.

in Local

CDH Starts Building Cancer Center

Fresh
cooley dickinson hospital

Cooley Dickinson Hospital is about to begin construction of its new cancer care center in Northampton.